shipwreck archaeology


Fully submerged shipwreck sites act as open systems, with the exchange of material (sediment, water, organic and inorganic objects) and energy (wave, tidal, storm) across system boundaries (Quinn, 2006). Formation processes at wreck sites are driven by some combination of chemical, biological and physical processes, with physical processes dominant in initial phases (Quinn, 2006). Depositional and erosional patterns that form in response to hydrodynamic forcing are often difficult to quantify at sites due to the spatial and temporal scales at which these processes occur.




The location of Lochgarry and Berry Bretagne off the east coast of Rathlin Island




Classification of anomalies interpreted from the JIBS data as potential shipwrecks. Anomalies correspond to unknown sites, with the exception of the easternmost wreck in Figure A, which has been identified as S.S. Lugano (1917).


To date, the CMA strategy for mapping submerged wreck sites has concentrated on the integration of single-beam bathymetric, side-scan, magnetometer and sub-bottom data to identify sites of archaeological potential (Bull et al., 1998; Quinn et al., 2000; 2002a,b, 2007; Quinn, 2006). These data have been interpreted in the context of a series of control experiments, designed to mimic the geophysical signatures of submerged archaeological material (Quinn et al., 1998 a,b; 2005). This experimental approach was developed to inform interpretation of geophysical data acquired over potential archaeological sites. However, to date, the limited availability (and relatively low-resolution) of data off the north coast has hindered this approach. The provision of the JIBS data presents a unique opportunity to study wreck site formation processes at a resolution and scale previously unobtainable.




Carraig Mannan rock off Kinbane Head - a know navigation hazard which gave rise to many wrecking incidents and close encounters over thousands of years of seafaring.





Bedform fields developed in the study area attest to the highly dynamic nature of the seabed. Livebed processes exert strong control on shipwreck site formation.